On hot summer days we have to thank Cuban bartenders for creating such thirst quenching cocktails, like the Mojito and the Daiquiri. Both of these are lightly sweetened, rum based drinks that incorporate lime and sometimes other fruit flavours. The key to these drinks is that they are not sickly sweet, well at least they shouldn't be. Unfortunately the classic lime Daiquiri is very hard to find, and many times if you order just a "Daiquiri" at a bar you'll get a bright red, horribly sweet, strawberry slushy. This is because most bartenders assume that the Strawberry Daiquiri is the only Daiquiri. If you want to do a person a favour make them try a Strawberry Daiquiri based on the classic recipe.
The are some abominations that masquerade themselves as a Daiquiri, usually in the red, slushy form. In some cases you'll even get a blob of whipped cream on top. What the hell is that all about! Cream does not belong in a Daiquiri, not matter what fruit flavour is, so if you are a bartender, stop it!
The classic, lime only, Daiquri has been supplanted by the strawberry version, which is the "de facto" cocktail you get when you order a Daiquiri at a bar. In Cuba they call it a Fresca Daiquiri.
The Daiquiri is a little one dimensional and does benefit from the addition of a complimentary flavour, like strawberry. I'm not going to fight "classic" vs "modern";, there are more important battles to wage, like how to make a Strawberry Daiquiri properly. Here's a hint, you don't need a blender, nor a bottle of artificial strawberry syrup. The classic Daiquiri is a simple cocktail made with white rum, lime, sugar, so to make a strawberry version just add about six small strawberries.
How to make a Strawberry Daiquiri
2 oz White Rum
½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
¼ oz Simple Syrup
6 Fresh Strawberries
Hull the strawberries and muddle (crush) them in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the rum, lime and simple syrup and stir to extract as much of the strawberry juice as possible. Pack your cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Fine strain into a sugar rimmed martini glass and garnish with a lime wedge or strawberry.
Fine straining is very important for this drink. I don't stir the daiquiri with ice because I want to pulverize as much of the strawberry as possible to extract all of the flavours. But after you've done that you need to strain out the pulp. Plus, the drink is going to be slightly cloudy anyway, so if you give it a good shake it will take on a nice red colour.
Most bars that make a daiquiri do it with a sugar rim, which nullifies the use of simple syrup in the cocktail. But I've found that the modern palate isn't as accepting of the strong sour flavour, so I always include a dash of simple syrup to make it more palatable. I also rim the glass with sugar for aesthetics.
The Strawberry Daiquiri doesn't have to be the abomination that many bars have made it. It can be a well balanced, refreshing, cocktail that will make other people in the bar ask "what's that?"
Classic Daiquiri Recipe
2 oz White Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup